The Old North State at War: The North Carolina Civil War Atlas is a comprehensive study of the impact of the war on the Tar Heel State, incorporating 99 newly-prepared maps, and is the only state-level atlas of its kind. Work on the book extended from 2006 until 2015 and was part of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History’s commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. The sesquicentennial included symposia, reenactments, and exhibits, but the atlas bids to be the most important lasting legacy. From the beginning, the intent was to create a new foundation work for state history. The atlas will be consulted for generations to come.
The volume highlights every significant military engagement in North Carolina and analyzes the war’s social, economic, and political consequences through tables, charts, and text. Manuscripts, election returns, newspapers, census records, and other sources were used to prepare the narrative and compile the tabulated data. Groundbreaking information is presented on casualty statistics, Sherman’s route, and the U.S. Colored Troops. Archival and rare photographs complete the package.
Archival and newspaper research was undertaken on election returns, census demographics, and enlistment statistics. Work also went toward documenting the state’s wartime manufacturing centers. In addition, new analysis was made of the state’s Civil War dead, which encompassed extensive research in state and national archives, as well as a thorough investigation of the state’s extant wartime newspapers. The upshot of the research has been the creation of a number of databases reflecting census returns, slavery statistics, commodity prices, causes of death, enlistment numbers, voting returns, and the like.
The maps are the primary focus of the book. The historic road networks are based on wartime cartography by engineer Jeremy Francis Gilmer and his team. The Gilmer maps were matched against the earliest modern road surveys. The early surveys were used for areas not covered by Gilmer, and were matched against a variety of additional primary manuscript maps from the State Archives and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Thanks to GIS technology, wartime places and landmarks, identified with their contemporary spellings, are presented in their correct geospatial orientation.
The Old North State at War is intended for all audiences. The detail in the book, both on the maps and in the data sets, is unparalleled. Everyone from fourth graders to the most experienced Civil War researchers can benefit. Libraries will be a primary market, followed closely by Civil War historians, amateur and professional. The information contained in the book truly does meet a need as nothing like it is presently on the market, and this authoritative and exhaustively-researched volume provides an example for other states to document and synthesize their Civil War scholarship.